What Is Physical Medicine?

What Is Physical Medicine?

When I mention the term physical medicine to a patient, I tend to get a confused look. I’m often asked what physical medicine entails. Is it physical therapy? Chiropractic care? The questions are endless.

As head of the physical medicine department at Executive Medicine of Texas, I feel it’s important for patients to understand the meaning of physical medicine and the various fields involved.


The purpose of physical medicine is to restore functional ability to those who may suffer from a physical impairment. Such impairments may be due to overuse, accidents or injury, or bad body mechanics. In addition, physical medicine is useful in prehabilitation and rehabilitation for surgical patients.


Physical medicine providers include physical therapists, chiropractors (like myself), massage therapists. occupational therapists, and acupuncturists. Although physical rehabilitation plays a role in each branch, it’s important to note that each provider uses unique services and techniques to acquire a desired result.

Physical Therapy
Physical therapists help ill and injured patients to improve movement and manage pain. They monitor progress by keeping a record of each visit.

Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors offer spinal and full body adjustments, soft tissue work, and other various hands-on therapies.

Massage Therapy
Massage therapists manipulate muscles and other soft tissues throughout the body using physical massage of various body parts.

Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists help treat ill or injured patients through everyday activities. This helps patients develop, improve, recover, and maintain their daily living.

Acupuncturists insert fine needles through the skin to target specific acupuncture points to stimulate the central nervous system. This procedure, rooted in Chinese medicine, is done in order to promote natural healing and wellbeing.

What now?
If you’re having musculoskeletal issues, schedule an appointment at Executive Medicine of Texas by calling 817.552.4300. You can book a complimentary chiropractic consultation.

It’s important to remember that when we combine multiple types of physical medicine, patient outcomes improve.

Want to learn more? Check out Dr. Tupper on the Radical Wellness podcast.

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